The NSA Welsh Sheep 2019 event was recently hosted at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor's Glynllifon campus. More than 6,000 people visited the site for all the latest information and n-ewes in sheep farming and the future of the industry.

The event was extremely informative offering a number of seminars throughout the day, covering a variety of relevant topics such as the future of farming, farming and the environment and flock health and welfare. There were competitions, sheepdog trials and farm tours via tractor running all day to entertain visitors.

Competition results included the winners of the NSA Next Generation Shepherd of the Year. Tomos Glyn Davies of Prion, Denbigh, and runner up Daniel Williams of Rhosgoch, Anglesey, will compete against finalists from Northern Ireland, Scotland and England at the national Sheep Event in Malvern in 2020. The best pair of continental hoggs was won by Derek and Cindy Steen of Coxhill Farm, Moffat Dumfriesshire with a Roussin and sold for 340 guineas each to Arfon Hughes of Tycerrig, Garndolbenmaen, Porthmadog. The best pair of native hogs was won by Wynne Davies of Bronallt, Nefyn, Gwynedd, with a Lleyn.

A hogg show and sale gave breeders the chance to put their sheep forward for a chance to win best in class (Native Upland, Native Lowland and Continental), the award for 1st prize in each category was a certificate and £200.

Helen Roberts from the National Sheep Association, who organised the event, explained why she believed Glynllifon campus would be the ideal setting:

NSA Cymru chose the site as it went along with our policy of encouraging the next generation into the industry and the venue showcased that very well.  It was a new venture for NSA Cymru coming to a college but it showed how well both the college and NSA are working to encourage a sustainable and profitable future for the industry.

Glynllifon's Farm Manager, Rhodri Owen, also had a huge role in ensuring things went smoothly on the day. Commenting on the event afterwards, Rhodri said:

We're pleased to work with the NSA and believe we have a fantastic facility here which can lend itself to many different requirements, in this case a large scale event with nearly 200 different stands in marquees and pop up stalls. We hope to work together again in the future towards the common goal of ensuring the Welsh sheep industry is constantly evolving and remaining a world leader in quality and innovation.

Opening the event, Dafydd Evans Chief Executive Officer of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, said the traditional way of life was being challenged with many opposing public interests having an influence over future land use direction. He said:

Agricultural Colleges have a key role here in developing new skills, showcasing innovation and leading on research. Not only for young people. There is an opportunity to influence the policies that affect us and the markets we depend on, but we will only succeed if we work together.

He congratulated the NSA on setting up forums for discussion and also on the Next Generation programme. The opportunity it offered for young people very much chimed with the work at Glynllifon.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker agreed it was highly significant that the event was held at the college, with attention focused on the next generation. He made reference to the difficult times the industry faces because of political uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the changing attitudes towards farming, but concluded:

…there are so many good environmental outcomes that can come from our industry, not to mention all the social and the community and cultural good that comes from Welsh sheep farming.

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